This month, we're pleased to spotlight The Walden School. Please enjoy!
Can you tell people about the basics about The Walden School (TWS)... whenit started and why.
This summer we are celebrating Walden’s 45th AnniversarySeason, but our heritage begins in the 1940s. The Walden School’s philosophy isrooted in a program for creative music education developed by the late GraceNewsom Cushman, founder and director of the Junior Conservatory Camp (the predecessorprogram to The Walden School). She held the conviction that creativity is theprimary purpose of education, and that the most successful program allowsstudents to discover new materials and concepts for themselves and learn tothink independently. An outgrowth of her
original work, the Walden MusicianshipCourse is a cornerstone of The Walden School’s
immersive music programs. TheCreative Musicians Retreat (CMR) is an 8-day get-away for
adults, and ourflagship Young Musicians Program (YMP) is for pre-college students ages 9-
Some have described Walden as “putting all of the piecestogether.” Music fundamentals, like
rhythm, harmony and melody, are taught in avery clear, progressive way that right-away
gives students the confidence andfreedom to improvise and compose. This is done in a
supportive environmentwhere community is key. It is fun and effective, from the youngest
beginners tothe most advanced musicians.
The curriculum and activities provide students the tools andguidance they need to express
themselves successfully. This happens alongsideour emphasis on cultivating open
listening skills and a unique voice. Lastsummer our Board of Directors met in Dublin to
refresh and reinforce The WaldenSchool’s mission and vision statements:
Mission: The Walden School inspires artisticexpression and personal growth through
experiential music programs.
Vision: The Walden School envisions a world in whichpeople engage with one another
creatively, collaboratively, and with respect.
Please explain TWS’s commitment to the arts in the Monadnock Region.
Part of the magic of The Walden School is our beautifulcampus setting at the Dublin School,
where we have been in residence since1983. The campus is an ideal setting for Walden’s
programs, and the warm andwelcoming Dublin community wonderfully supports our work
We have been offering a free and open-to-the-public concertseries for several decades now,
and twice, this concert series has won nationalawards from ASCAP and Chamber Music
America for our adventurous programming.The performers are world class, and include
great jazz musicians, classicalartists, and contemporary music specialists, alike. Annually,
we present achoral concert in the community that is a favorite amongst our concertgoers.
The natural beauty throughout the Monadnock region heretruly inspires our program
participants. Our young musicians are unpluggedduring their experience; cell phones and
Internet are not allowed. We encouragepersonal connection with others and the environment.
And we explore the naturalbeauty together on weekly hikes to local mountains, including
annual hikes upMount Monadnock.
We appreciate the vibrant arts community in the Monadnock Region,where so many arts
organizations thrive and are supported by area residents. Eachsummer, our programs
attract hundreds of additional arts lovers who visit localshops, galleries, hotels, and
restaurants, and who are annually impressed withthe lush landscapes, fresh air, and
regional offerings. We are so grateful forthe chance to foster Walden’s creative community
here in the Monadnock Region.
Is TWS collaborative? How so? How does TWS work with artists and artsrelated
Walden is all about collaboration! Everyone on campus sharesmeals together and sings in
chorus daily. Our programs offer our participantsthe environment that allows them to
balance focusing on their own, individualcreative work and collaborating with peers and
mentors in a supportivecommunity.
Each summer we bring performing ensembles to Dublin forspecial collaborations. For
several years now, we have been building a partnershipwith the International Contemporary
Ensemble (ICE). Last August, eight studentsin our Young Musicians Program composed
works for ICE to premiere in Dublin,and then again perform at the Mostly Mozart Festival in
New York City. Thestudents worked with the ensemble readying their pieces for the
firstperformance, revising and receiving feedback from the performers as they soughtto
bring their very best work forward.
We also have a commitment to bringing the musicians we hostoff-campus to support local
Monadnock organizations. Walden musicians haveperformed at the Keene Public Library,
RiverMead Retirement Community, andCrotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center.
In addition, we are committed to further developingpartnerships with regional arts
organizations. We have collaborated onprogramming with Monadnock Music, hosted a joint
residency project with AppleHill, and annually, connect our young composer students with
MacDowell Fellowsin residence at the MacDowell Colony. We look forward to more
suchopportunities in the years ahead.
What is TWS’s vision for the arts in the Region and the surroundingregions? And, NH
for that matter?! How will TWS work to make that happen?
Our vision is that with its varied offerings – in music,dance, theater, visual arts, film, and
more – New Hampshire and the MonadnockRegion, specifically, would continue to attract
world-class artists, as well asaudiences and arts supporters. This includes more people
taking advantage ofthe Region’s offerings, and we will endeavor to make more people aware
of our freeconcerts and Composers Forums that happen late June through early August.
Throughthese events, we will continue to contribute to the rich and diverse artavailable to
residents and visitors alike. Wonderful opportunities and insightscan emerge when
organizations are connected to one another through projects oron-going collaboration. We
are committed to nurturing our existing partnershipsand are open to new collaborative
What else should people know about The Walden School?
Walden hosts more than 100 premieres of newly composed musiceach year. Our concerts
and Composers Forums are all free and open to thepublic. Summer 2017 Artists-in-
Residence include Matt Gold (percussion), StevenBeck (piano), Splinter Reeds, The Walden
School Players, and the Mivos Quartet,among others. This summer we also welcome
Composers-in-Residence Annie Gosfieldand Robert Kyr, who will moderate numerous
Composers Forums during which newmusic is performed and then immediately discussed
with the composer,performers, and the audience. Such events provide insight to the
creativeprocess for all involved. We hope to see you this summer at one of our musical
For more info visit their website!